National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randall "Randy" Echanis was killed in Quezon City on Monday, Anakpawis Partylist confirmed.
Echanis, 72, and an unidentified neighbor were killed in a rented house in Novaliches early in the morning, the activist group said in a statement.
Former Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao said Echanis was undergoing medical treatment and unarmed when "police forces" raided his house.
Echanis was found dead after five men were seen leaving his house, Casilao said.
In reaction, Malacañang asked everyone to wait for the results of the investigation by the authorities amid claims linking the police to the killing of the peasant leader and peace consultant.
“Let’s wait for the results of the police investigation before pinning the death of Echanis on anyone,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Echanis was a long-time consultant and a member of the NDFP committee on socio-economic reforms. He was part of peace talks with the Duterte administration from 2016 to 2017, Anakpawis said.
He was chairman of Anakpawis and deputy secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, a militant peasant organization.
Echanis was Anakpawis' third party-list nominee for the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.
"Our anger is beyond words. This is a culture of extrajudicial killings with impunity under the Duterte regime. This is a declaratory act that national leaders of legal-democratic movement are now targeted to be killed by the Duterte regime," Casilao said.
"The entire civil society, human rights advocates and freedom fighters must totally denounce this criminal act," the former congressman said.
Calling the killing a "cold-blooded murder," NDFP negotiating panel legal consultant Edre Olalia said" "It is almost conclusory that the ruthless dark forces have struck again."
"How then can we encourage people to openly and effectively engage in legitimate causes and advocacies for social and economic reforms if you treacherously silence them?" said Olalia, also president of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers.
Because of the killing, he said the recently enacted Anti-Terrorism Law "may just be a formal legal cover if not a surplusage."
"Are we totally and almost irretrievably shutting the doors and windows of a potential peaceful resolution of the perennial ills of society by sowing terror and trepidation among those who present alternative solutions?" Olalia said in a statement.
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